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@Crasical's Characters: The Tournament Arc

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Alright, that concludes the first 8 Matches of the tournament. The next set of eight will determine our Quarterfinals.

I'll be moving to probably updating on Tuesday and Thursday for the next block of 8, with one character introduction and the fight scene a week.

Tanking is only half the battle. The other half...

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At Seed 1, our arbitrarily placed strongest-fighter, we have Gwendolyn 'Looter Goblin' Gates.

GG was 10 when her home city of Eastgate collapsed into the ground in The Hollowing, and 12 when the Rikti attacked Paragon City. The one-two punch left her parents missing, the heroes that once protected her streets dead, fled, or having repositioned to more tactically important locations than the huge hole in the ground that made up most of The Hollows. For any sort of security and protection she fell in with the the local street gangs. Bouncing between the Skulls, Hellions, and Lost, she eventually made her home with the Trolls, started using Superadyne, and set off a career as a petty criminal and minor hoodlum.

GG had hoped that the 'Dyne would bulk her up, give her the super-strength and stamina that the gang was known for. That wasn't the case, and even today she isn't really sure why: Having a series of tiny doses strung out over a long time, the drug being cut with some mutagenic filler, or the remaining Shift in her system from her time with the Lost, some reaction left her without the desired musculature. While she still turned green and grew her tusks in, she didn't get any horns, her hair didn't fall out, and instead of becoming muscle-bound and towering, she *shrunk*. She's sub 4-foot, now.

Heightened speed and reflexes and unimpaired intelligence might have been considered a good tradeoff for the Troll's clouded minds and raw strength, but the gang rarely valued such things. Small, green, and expendable, Gwen was promptly nicknamed 'Goblin' and used as a courier, gofer, and general menial laborer.It was only after months of nagging that she was given a more important job in the gang, buying and distributing Dyne among the Trolls in Skyway City. It was her big chance to prove her worth to the gang; and she immediately blew it by getting arrested. 

Prison is rough even when you *don't* need a stool to reach the water fountain. For Gwen, it was hell: The Trolls were hardly respected in the Zig to begin with, and Gwen was a super runty, defenceless variant thereof. Every day was an exercise in avoiding other inmates that wanted to steal her comissary tokens, hide contraband in her ass, kick her like a football to relieve stress, or whatever else crossed their mind. Every day her resentment grew and grew, a desire for revenge that was more keen than her longing for freedom. 

After ten long years, Gwen was released, but not rehabilitated. She'd spent ten years in the company of criminals, and she'd long ago started a list: Every secret they'd ever let slip. The stashes, the caches, the secret bases, the stockpiles. She hit them all, there and gone in a flash. The image of the stubby thief vanishing out the front door with a sack of loot over her shoulder was common enough across a whole spectrum of criminals and for a full month that it earned her her current title, 'The Looter Goblin'. 

Gwendolyn has refined her approach since then, but her methods remain the same. Though armed with dual pistols, a katana, and a lot of spite, she's a thief first and foremost; she rarely applies lethal force if she can help it. Her greatest weapon is a chemistry set: tampering with superadyne to purify, amplify, or heighten its effects. It also is where she creates loads the chemical components of the capsule rounds or injection darts she uses, 

Looter Goblin is a Science Blaster with Dual Pistols and Ninja Training as her powersets. Her ancillary set is Munitions Mastery, with pool picks in Speed and Fighting. Her notable powers are as follows:

  • [Match Compensator Dualies] Enhanced reflexes and good peripheral vision make using paired pistols feasible, though reloading remains tricky. Twice the gun is twice the firepower, and Looter Goblin is skilled enough to perform a variety of trick shots with her signature purple-tinted heavy pistols. 
  • [Muso Jikiden Eishin-ryu] A sword art based around iado, the act of drawing the blade and attacking in a single, smooth movement, no matter if the user is seated, standing, in a variety of terrain, and against one or many opponents. Looter Goblin learned this from a series of instructional VHS tapes and is not a master, but speed and surprise are her mainstays rather than raw power, so being able to smoothly pivot from pistols to blade fits her natural inclinations well.
  • [Run & Gun] Speed and stealth make Looter Goblin a highly mobile combatant, vanishing behind cover only to appear, repeatedly ambushing targets.
  • [Fun with Chemistry] A baffling variety of drugs and poisons. While Looter Goblin doesn't usually kill, she has no issue with dosing her opponents with hallucinagens, paralytics, and tranquilizers. More than one power-armored opponent has found themselves dosed with a powerful emetic and been forced to remove their helmet in a hurry. 
  • [Break Action Grenade Launcher] Comes with gas grenades and high explosive grenades. Supplemental firepower, and yet *another* weapon to juggle between her pistols and katana.

Tanking is only half the battle. The other half...

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Match 9: Seed 1 Looter Goblin versus Seed 16 Samuel Hain

There's a careful balance between the amount of work available and suitable for rookie heroes, and the amount of new heroes to tackle it. Ideally, it's balanced: There's enough work for newly registered heroes to experience live fire exercises. If it swings too far one way, the low-level criminals of the city are cowed and in hiding, and the newbies have to make do with training seminars or sidekicking alongside more experienced capes. If it goes too far the other way, then more experienced heroes need to step in and clean up work that is, technically, beneath them.

Gwen *loved* when that happened. Moral philosophers, parents,teachers, and the general public generally put a dim view on the strong bullying the weak. Well, fuck that! Bullying the weak is *great!* It's fun! Enemies that can't really fight back are the best! Being morally in the right when picking on people at a much lower ability level than you is the best part of being a hero. 

"HAAAA HA HA HA HAAAAAA!" She cackled maniacally, twisting and pirouetting, snap-firing at the mass of Hellions. The cultists went down, vomiting, foaming at the mouth, spasming, as the various chemical rounds took effect. Their return fire was the undisciplined rapid bang-bang-bang of panic fire, unaimed, easy enough for her to weave through, juking back and forth between the bullets and the bolts of flame. Her pistols clicked empty and she let go of them, letting them snap back to the magnetized holsters at her hips, rapidly drawing the katana over her shoulder Iajutsu style. Kicking off the floor, then a concrete pillar, she got plenty of height before a plummeting descent, her blade dissecting one of the gang's succubuses, the Girlfriend From Hell vanishing in a screech of rage and a blast of green fire. 

Stopping to plant one of her boots into the ribs of a still conscious but groaning hellion, she casually reloaded her twin pistols, the heavy match compensators spinning around her dexterous little fingers. "Man, I do love hitting up small fry likeyou guys. It's not like you have anything good to take, and half of this magical stuff is gonna have to go back to M.A.G.I., but it's nice to see you shitty smug satanists get taken down a peg." She snickered sadistically, casually slicing the lock off a crate before tossing her katana aside casually, where it stick point-first into a cardboard box. Looking into the crate, she nodded at the collection of sinister idols, wands, and curvy-bladed knives, before taking both of her pistols and tossing them into the crate.

...Wait, what? Why did I do that? She wondered, as she unslung her grenade launcher and tossed it in as well. Her smoke bombs and flash powder went in too, and she had to do a little hop to grab the lid and pull it back down onto the treasure chest. A smile came to her lips, unbidden, as she turned and sashayed past the beaten hellions, humming a tuneless little melody to herself. Her mind raced, her eyes flicking about in a panic. What the fuck? Why? Why can't... my body's moving on its own!

Opening the door at the end of the room, her nose was assailed with a sweet, crisp scent. Apples, fallen leaves. Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger. The floor of the room was coated with orange and brown and yellow leaves, inexplicably tilled soil below it. Large, swollen gourds, big orange pumpkins grew from wrist-thick vines. One enormous pumpkin was the centerpiece of the room, as big around as a king-size bed. 

"...So this is some kind of *wild* magic bullshit." She realized after a moment that she'd spoken that aloud, some of the hold on her body weakening. She tried to move her arms or legs, but could only just move her head a few degrees. She could fight this off, whatever it was, if she had time-

"Now, now. language, young lady." 

The voice would have made her jump a foot in the air if she could move a muscle. The towering scarecrow was lounging atop the huge pumpkin, his pumpkin-headed gape of a grin staring at her as she cheerfully skipped up to him. She almost took offense to that, she didn't *skip*; but there were more pressing concerns: Namely, the scarecrow's claws looked awfully sharp. Hain reached out one hand, gently tucking a claw under her chin and using it to tilt her gaze up to meet his own. "...And just who the hell are you? Mr. October?" "Now, now, language." "'Hell' isn't a fucking swear!"

Was this it? This was how it was going to go out? Some horrible pumpkin monster was going to slash her throat, or disembowel her. Maybe it'd be a fully fledged decapitation, or it'd rend her limbs off or something... There was no telling what this horrible magical monster would or could do to her. She'd messed up, somehow, somewhere, though she couldn't exactly pinpoint what it was. Maybe agreeing to help out M.A.G.I.? That must have been it. If, on the off chance she survived this, she was swearing off helping people.

"The name is Hain, Samuel Hain. And-" "Alright, 'Sam', let me the hell go already." If it was possible for a jack-o-lantern to look disgruntled, 'Sam' did. The claw went from under her chin to the scruff of her neck, grabbing her by the collar and hauling her into the air. The scarecrow man was *strong!* "...as I was saying. A certain friend of mine has asked me to watch over those artifacts. While the Hellions are of no consequence to me, I can't have thieves and troublemakers getting their dirty hands all over those stone tablets."

"Fine! Message delivered! I'll leave your magical doodads alone Now lemmego, you orange bastard!!" Gwen kicked and struggled, realizing that more and more feeling was coming back into her limbs. She swung a boot into the scarecrow, though it bounced back off something much more solid than a bundle of wooden poles and  straw ought to be. Hain, contemptuously, dropped her, the shorty troll landing across his knees with a 'whuff' of expelled breath. Reaching down, he carefully grabbed her wrists, folding them behind her back and pinning them there with one hand, leaving the other free, keeping the squirming, kicking blaster trapped in his grip. "Insolent mortal! I am of the Gentry, a lord of the Unseelie Court!" 

Gwen let out a startled yelp as Hain's hand came down on her backside, her squirming and kicking redoubling. Her body was her own again, whatever momentary possession that had afflicted her now past, though without her weapons her ability to fight back was minimal, less so when pinned by the supernaturally strong scarecrow. "OW!"  The hand came down again, favoring the right side of her prodigious backside this time. Gwen favored durable, tight-fitting blue jeans, hard wearing denim that was resistant to any high-speed skidding or sliding that might be necessary during parkour or a gunfight, the tight fit ensuring it didn't snag or hang on anything. Right now, it outlined her wide hips and plush bottom a little too well, and the durability wasn't doing nearly enough for her tastes. 

"Oh, and, belatedly. Language."

His hand came down with a sharp crack, and another squeal of pain. She wasn't being torn to bloody ribbons, nor having her bones broken with supernatural strength. She wasn't even really being bruised. But the spanking was damnably uncomfortable and, more to the point, hideously undignified. Her heavy steel-toed boots kicked and thrashed about, landing a few harsh blows on the Dominator, and a torrent of invictive fell from her lips, every swear she knew and a few that she invented on the spot, insulting the dominator, his entire line of ancestry both backwards and forwards, his behavior, hobbies, and his stupid pumpkin face and lack of proper feet. 

Hain, for his part, kept up a measured, rhythmic beating. Each spank was hard enough to emit a loud smack that would cut through the Goblin's cursing and protesting, usually followed by a yelp or squeal. The complaints lost coherency at around the count of fifteen swats, Hain carefully meting out punishment to make sure that her green butt was evenly coated with stinging red handprints. At the twenty swat mark, the little goblin broke down openly crying, sniffling and sobbing in pain and shame. Hain continued her treatment all the way to the count of 25 for good measure, before releasing the grip on her wrists, grabbing her by the scruff of the neck again and hauling her up off his lap.

"Well, now, have anything to sa-" He immediately caught a fist to the jaw. The blow was more startling than anything, and he stared at her incredulously, the tiny blaster dangling from his claw, teary-eyed but defiant. "I don't believe this. Incorrigible." "Fucker!"

Gwen woke up an hour later, laying on her stomach on a paragon bus stop's bench. Her backside throbbing and swollen, aching and sore. With a groan, she pushed herself up, cutching her wounded pride with one hand and a grimace. Checking herself, she found her sword, pistols, chemicals, and grenade launcher all in order. At least he hadn't kept her stuff. "Ow. Okay." Standing properly, she took a few wobbling steps. "...let's just call this a wash and go home already... And never mention this to anyone, ever."



Looter Goblin v s Samuel Hain
Deals Lethal and Toxic damage, somewhat resists Lethal damage   ✔️ Deals Dark and Lethal Damage, heavily resists Lethal damage
Defiant ✔️   Powerful Mez Capability
Defiance doesn't stop Confusion   ✔️ Confusion
No Bonus Perception   ✔️ Invisibility


G.G. doesn't have bonus perception, so Hain gets the ambush. He stacks up Confusion via Possession, and Defiance only works on Sleeps, Stuns and Holds, leaving her totally helpless, with her mobility and preference to fight at range both nullified. G.G. gets to experience the Dominator playstyle of 'Mez and Melee' or 'Tie Them Up and Whip Them' firsthand in one of the most one-sided stomps we've had. 

Tanking is only half the battle. The other half...

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Today we introduce our Seed 8, the heroic Scrapper, La Colmilla Noche, the Night Fang.

Mexican wrestlers take their secret identities just as seriously as superheroes, in some cases, even more so. The mask is synonymous with the wrestler, and having it removed is dishonorable; several famous luchadors have continued to wear their masks even after retirement, El Santo, the most famous Luchador of all, was buried wearing his.

This does somewhat complicate tracing the origins of Colmilla, who goes out of her way to cultivate an aura of mystery. The few facts she's let slip about her life before entering the ring indicate she came from the countryside, living on a ranch that raised horses, cattle, and goats. She's kept secret any prior training, or if she had wrestled under a different name or mask prior to her 'debut' as the Night Fang at a wrestling event in Mexico City where she defeated six other opponents in a battle royale. Instantly a crowd favorite despite her rudo style of fighting (A more brawling focused and less technical style, associated with Heel wrestlers), her career took off in a big way, attracting the attention of the current champion, El Gran Mal, 'The Great Evil'. 

Recruiting her as a protoge, student, and tag-team partner, Colmilla and Gran Mal spearheaded the 'Era of Darkness' in their league, the pair of Rudos crushing heroic Technico wrestlers left and right. During this time Colmilla sharpened her style, adapting the teachings of her new mentor to her own style; emphasizing speed and agility over his focus on sheer inhuman strength and durability. Before long enemies could't lay a hand on her, while her spinning, whirling aerial moves blurred the line between brawling and technico fighting.

Gran Mal's retirement ended the partnership, he simply had nothing left to teach his pupil. With his 12th consecutive title defense, he left the ring unconquered. Entering retirement with his pride and mask intact, he left the title open, implicitly expecting his protoge to take the title for herself. She did, and held the title for another three years. By this point, La Colmilla Noche, the vampire, the night fang, the silver mask, the slayer, had achieved a great deal of fame in her chosen profession; and had started to plateau. 

Refusing to stagnate, she began to enter metahuman leagues, wrestling against mutants with super-strength and impervious skin, or those who could generate flame or darkness. The thrill of challenging superhumans was incredibly addictive, and she chose to abandon her championship title to focus soley on these exciting metahuman-league matches. Brawling her way through the best and brightest of Mexico's superpowered wrestlers, she soon found herself standing at the top of the pile once again. 

From there, where was there left to go? She remained unsatisfied. She wasn't done yet. Paragon City called to her. Her friends and colleagues called her foolhardy, reckless, to leave the ring, to challenge ruthless supervillains who wouldn't obey the rules of Lucha LIbre, to put her life on the line to continue to sharpen her already superb skills, to abandon her sparkling career record to become a vigilante in America. 

Colmilla ignored them. The only one she consulted was her former mentor, Gran Mal, who encouraged her. She left for America. 

Her first few years in Paragon were rough. Her English wasn't very good, and she was fighting actual superheroes and villains, and often large groups of minions, something her style wasn't geared towards. Slowly, she adapted, and has settled into full-time heroism. Despite her glamorous career in wrestling, she's remained fairly obscure as a heroine; others with better, flashier powers tend to take center stage. She's somewhat annoyed by this, but does enjoy the upsides of obscurity: watching the professional soldiers in the Nemesis Army or Malta react with horrified disbelief at a Mexican Wrestler twisting their allies into pretzels hasn't stopped being funny to her. 

Colmilla is a Natural Scrapper with Street Justice and Super Reflexes as her powersets. Her ancillary set is Body Mastery, with power picks in Leaping, Fighting, and Medicine. Her notable powers are:

  • [Lucha Libre (Rudo)] A step above merely brawling, Colmilla's fighting style uses her fists, feet, knees and elbows in lightning fast and powerful blows.
  • [Lucha LIbre (Technico)] While she still identifies as a heel, a 'bad girl' brawler, Colmilla has picked up a few flashy, spinning and twisting aerial moves to help deal with large crowds.
  • [Silver Flash] Reflexes and speed honed to the degree that most enemies never even manage to touch Colmilla. Fighting a whole group, she becomes a blur of brown, black and silver.
  • [From the top rope!] Colmilla can jump kind of ridiculously high and runs very fast. While she isn't quite a speedster, covering ground isn't usually an issue for her.
  • [Tech-Medkit] Colmilla goes into battle wearing a revealing leather costume, her mask, and a championship belt. The single concession to gadgetry she has is a high-tech medical scanner that she uses to patch herself up 'between rounds'; more contributing to sustain than as an in-combat heal.
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Tanking is only half the battle. The other half...

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Match 10: Seed 8 Colmilla versus Seed 9 Lord Romulus

"Oy! Pendejo!" 

Romulus blinked, looking up from his tablet. He'd gotten comfortable at one of the tables at the end of the bar in Pocket D, overlooking the AE wing. A sticky-sweet mixed drink and some bar peanuts flanked the tablet he'd been using to tune an AE simulation he'd wanted to run simulating an encounter with some of his robotic minions, trying to prune out nonviable lines of development.

"...Are you talking to me?" "Who else is here?" 

The masked woman planted a hand on the table and leaned over him, gesticulating with one hand, but his eyes were immediately drawn down to the excessive amount of cleavage on display; two form-fitting leather straps running down the front of her body making up the bulk of the woman's skimpy costume. Face slightly reddening, he ogled, before dragging his eyes back up to her face. The mask was a stylized pair of fangs, framed by medium length dark hair, a pair of bat-wings mounted near the back to give a vampire-like appearance. 
"The robot with the big hands, it belongs to you, right?" "...That's right. Hmmph. More and more people are spreading that info around.." "So, what happened to it?"

Romulus sighed, leaning back in his seat and grabbing his drink, sipping at it fussily. "New regulations from the powers-that-be. Apparently the same big-hands-technology I was connected to some stuff that could cause dangerous breaches in the fabric of reality, so they shut down the entire line of research. Vanguard, the FBSA, even Arachnos all agreed to enforce the ban."

"What a shame." The woman slid into the booth opposite him. "I never got a chance to try it out myself." Romulus choked on his drink, covering his mouth as he lapsed into a coughing fit. The Big Hands Robot had been at least partly a practical joke; his prototype and test bed for robotics. He'd learned a lot building it, and had kept it around mostly out of nostolgia. Refitting it with giant metal hands, writing 'SPANKING MACHINE' on its chest, and sending it off to the Pocket D was a deliberate troll on his part. He'd been surprised (and titilated) when a few of the superpowered clientelle had actually made use of the machine's services.
"You wanted to try it?" His voice was incredulous. "...As a sparring partner. It seemed plenty strong." He cleared his throat, glowering. She was deliberately teasing him, he could tell. "...If it's strength you're after, my personal armor is much more powerful than that prototype." "Is that sooooo?" She drawled out the last word. "Well, wouldn't you object to a... private exhibition, then?"


The roar of the crowd, the hooting of the monkey. The fight club, the pocket D fight cage. Specators cheered and jeered, as Colmilla stretched, flexing and bending to provoke the crowd further. 
"Haha, sorry, kid! It's a shame it worked out this way."
"...Tsk. Okay, that's it. I've been tolerating you because you're p-pretty, but that's enough of that!" 
With a roar of purple light, Romulus was hauled into the air, his armor teleporting in around him piece by piece. HIs long purple impervium-weave cape fluttered behind him, and his shield and beam sword ignited with sizzling energies as he took up a combat stance. 
"Defend yourself!" "With pleasure."

Colmilla surged forward, throwing a quick combo of jabs at the purple energy shield that Romulus threw up, then feinting to the left, ducking low and going for a sweeping kick. HIs blade flashed over her head as she dropped down into the crouch, and she had to roll to the side as it came down vertically, an awkward angle due to stumbling after the sweep-kick. Flicking the blade black up, a disemboweling strike had her side-stepping and going in to grab his sword arm, going for a throw, but he vanished out of her grip, teleporting a pace away and going in for a shield bash. Colmilla leaped up, planted both her feet on the incoming rush, and used it as a springboard, launching herself up high and to the mesh of the cage, gripping a hold of it for a moment before dropping down, using her momentum for a spinning drop-kick that sent Romulus reeling.

Stumbling back a pace, he set his stance and triggered his suit's eye beams, sending bolts of energy towards the luchadora as she rushed back into melee range, having to roll and tumble to avoid the incoming ranged blasts. Raising his sword high he leaned forward, his height and the extra reach of the blade let him bring it down in a smiting blow that scythed through the air like the fist of god. Colmilla juked to the side, the blow shattering the concrete, sending chips of stone up in a reverse hail. 

Before he could draw his sword from the stone, Colmilla had stepped on his wrist, using the position to launch herself hip-first at his other hand, smashing his shield-arm wide and out of position. Spinning, Colmilla landed in a crouch, and then lept up, twisting in the air to come at him horizontally. Two full rotations in, she caught his head between her thighs, snapping his head back. She let her grip slip enough to swing around to his back, using her weight to drag the powersuit around in a half circle before her weight pulled him backwards enough for her to put her palms on the ground. With something to brace against, she heaved, pulling him over backwards and slamming his head into the ground.
Rising, Colmilla went to survey her handiwork, nodding approvingly at the bent and dented metal of her opponent. "...Not bad, I suppose. For a warmup."



Colmilla V S Lord Romulus
Deals Smashing damage. Heavily resists Lethal damage ✔️ ✔️ Deals Lethal and some Energy damage. Heavily resists Smashing Damage.
Gains extreme resistance to Lethal at 1/3rd health and below     Gains extreme resistance to Smashing for 3 minutes
Supreme evasion     Very strong evasion
Enhanced Perception     Superior Stealth
Interruptable self-heal     Unstable self-repair
Luchador Spirit ✔️   Weak vs. Strong Women


They're so similar it was hard to call. Whenever either had a standout advantage, the other would counter it. While I did note that since Rommie can't land consistent hits, he can't build up his Assassin's Focus enough to get that good damage spike he wants in; the real ultimate decider is that Romulus is a huge dork and can't handle powerful heroines or villainesses very well.

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Tanking is only half the battle. The other half...

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At seed 4, we have our first Soldier of Arachnos, the widow Hivemind.

The most powerful psychic networks on earth? The Carnival of Shadows would be in the running. The Devouring Earth, as well. In another world, the Seer Network was refined to near perfection. However, the most most militarized and disciplined psychics belong to Arachnos. Trained from childhood, the Widows and Bane Spiders form two divisions, an assault on Destiny, and on Free Will itself. 

Bane Spiders link inwards, forming a chain of self-reinforcing discipline. A psychic panopticon, where any errant or treasonous thought is located and eliminated. Absolute loyalty, a hive-mind of soldiers that cannot be swayed nor have their will broken. Fortunata, by contrast, expand their psychic senses outwards, casting their network outward to predict from what is 'now' what will happen in the future. The Fortunata Seers forsee the future, and can alter, twist, and bend it to a desired outcome, shaping what will be to the greater service of Arachnos.

Their armor, their masks, their helmets, serve to homogenize the psychics. Their individuality is not important, as they are all parts of a greater whole. Individual behavior that is disruptive, quirks in how one acts or thinks or fights, are all abraded away. Even so, anomalous individuals do crop up from time to time. Those with useful individualities are given special status, while those with problematic quirks are eliminated. 

It follows then, that a quirk that destabilizes and subverts the purpose of the Fortunata and Bane Spiders would be considered exceedingly dangerous. Such a person would be in mortal danger, for Arachnos as an organizaton could not risk letting them survive.

The Hivemind has, in light of this fact, taken extreme lengths to erase her name and identity from all records. Once an ordinary Fortunata, her powers twisted, mutated. She infiltrates mental links, subtly, slowly. She spreads her influence through them, slowly adding a golden, honeyed filter to the thoughts of all who remain in the link. Those begin to love her, to cherish her, to desire to protect and obey her. Her presence in a base will slowly twist it from a spider's web to a hive, with her as the queen bee. At her command, the soldiers within mark their armor with yellow spray paint, openly changing their affiliation to serve under her. 

While she at one point feared for her life, she is now resolute in her course of action. Arachnos cannot allow her to survive, she is too direct a threat to their organization. She has abandoned what remained of her old life as a child on the streets of Grandville, of a recruit in the organization. Former comrades and friends have been forgotten. Her only choice is to win or die; to subsume the organization and turn Grandville, the entire rogue isles, into a massive hive, to usurp Lord Recluse, or to perish at his hands. There is no point in cursing her fate; this is simply how it has to be.

Hivemind is a Natural Arachnos Widow in the Fortunata branch. She has no Ancillary pool, with pool picks in Flight and Medicine. Her notable powers are:


  • [Queen Bee's Sting] Though high ranking Fortunata eschew melee combat entirely, focusing on their psychic powers, Hivemind retains her poisoned, implanted blades from her time as a Widow.  She has become fairly proficient in their use, attacking from ambush or whirling about in a crowd of opponents with equal proficiency.
  • [Queen's Command] While the brainwashing effect he has on allies is more subtle than a scalpel, this is is a sledgehammer. A concentrated psychic demand to collapse, or submit rendered so strong as to be considered an attack.
  • [Wings] Hivemind has no telekinetic abilities. Her wings are fully mechanical, attached to an anti-gravity harness. Becoming weightless, the buzzing insectile wings propel her along at a decent rate.
  • [Mask Presence] A combination of infiltration training, psychic concealment, and ruthenium-polymer optical camouflage, this renders the user (nearly) invisible.
  • [Queen's Caress] Allied forces, both temporary teammates and servants, recieve a substantial power boost in her service. LInking minds, she provides a great deal of support and coordination.
  • [Toxicology] The dose determines  the difference between poison and medicine. Using some of her own poison can dull the pain of wounds and keep Hivemind in the fight long enough for her natural healing to kick in.
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Tanking is only half the battle. The other half...

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Match 11: Seed 4 Hivemind vs. Seed 20 The Cartoonist

The Cartoonist tapped the Bane Spider on the shoulder, waiting for him to turn around before socking him in the face with an oversized boxing glove. The man collapsed in a heap, Toons shaking his hand and letting the ink construct melt back into his body as he continued silently down the corridors of the arachnos base. Something was deeply wrong here; he'd already unhelmed and spent a few moments poking and prodding at a Fortunata he'd subdued a few roms ago. No secret Nemesis automatons, no Devouring Earth spores, no hippie genie happiness waves. These were all real human Arachnos soldiers, so why...?

A lot of the sinister red lights he'd come to associate with the organization had been tinted, now shining a cheerful yellow instead. Yellow hilights on their armor (He'd almost raised an alarm earlier kicking an empty spray-paint can he hadn't noticed laying on the mesh flooring). What was going on? He peered around a corner, snapping his fingers and dropping a pool of ink in front of some patrolling arachnobots, the tarantula stepping on the puddle and dropping into it as if he'd plummeted down a pitfall, allowing The Cartoonist to proceed onward. 

The banners, in particular, he found unsettling. More yellow and black, this time with the simple emblem of a bee inside a hexagon. A bolt of yellow fabric and a stencil and black spraypaint, quickly and crudely assembled, but a banner of rebellion all the same. Something had changed this base, and he was the first to stumble in and realize that all was not well. Enough so that he was considering alerting the 'authorities' and taking this up with an Arbiter once he got out.

Well, once he got out with his prize. He was here for a reason, after all. The Diabolical Deviant, Doctor Dolphin had finally met his end at the hands (and oversized mallets) of the Carnival of Shadows, and even a minor villain like the good doctor tended to engender a certain surge of nostolgic upon their passing. Enough of a surge that people might pay well for memorabilia; such as might be found in an evidence lockup in an out-of-the-way storage base like this one. Old gadgets, first generation costumes, even his dossier from stints in arachnos prisons. It was a minor payday, but a man had to eat.

Well, a minor payday that was now entirely not worth the vigorous creep factor of this base. He stopped behind a looming Crab Spider, sketching out an oversized carnival mallet and giving it a few practice swings before stopping, sketching out a wooden crate to stand on, and then getting the correct height to land an overhead wood-chopping swing on the top of the hulking power-armored riot cop's head, sending them pitching over with cartoon stars around their head.

There, last hurdle. He tossed the hammer away, hurrying into the records and storage wing. He took a minute to adjust his gloves as the system slowly booted up. The yellow light of the terminal was so refreshing, so pretty. A marked improvement on the murky, hard-to-read screens that Arachnos usually employed.  

The Cartoonist hadn't had actual hairs on the back of his neck in several years, but something still rippled and prickled there. He turned, finding a woman standing there. Much of her face was concealed behind a mask, segmented, insectile lenses mimicking a bug's compound eyes giving an ambigious quality to her stare. Black and white insect wings twitched and flickered from between her shoulder blades. Her shoulder length hair was a shocking white, and she wore a tight outfit of yellow, grey, and gold.

LIving in the Rogue Isles, the skintight bodysuit was something you generally got use to. Even for people who never stopped finding the look particularly stimulating, you generally found a way to at least remain functional. The Cartoonist had already passed and subdued almost a dozen Widows and Fortunata on his way here; for many they were the peak of seductive lethality. However, this one... well, his heart couldn't race, nor could his mouth go dry. But she was more beautiful than any woman he'd ever seen in his life.

"...So, who are you, and what are you doing here?"

The words couldn't tumble from his lips fast enough. She was enthralling. Gorgeous. He told her EVERYTHING, why he was here, what he hoped to take, his thoughts on the decor.
"....Well. I'll take the interior design suggestions into consideration." The sarcasm was like a lash, and he found himself babbling, trying to apologize, as he sank to his knees.

"No, no. Nevermind that." At some point, she'd taken wing, hovering effortlessly over the floor as if weightless. The Cartoonist was unnaturally tall and spindly, but with him on his knees and her in the air, the height difference was more than equalized, he was at the right height to grovel and kiss her boots, if she asked. "I've never heard of this 'Doctor Dolphin', but I don't have any need for anything in the evidence lockup here, either. You're free to take whatever you like."


He rested his forehead on the ground, groveling in the face of her generocity. It wasn't just beauty, it was *truth*. She was so right, so kind. He loved her. "...However, I can't have you going to the Arbiters about this." He looked up, finding her face suddenly very close, his body rippling as a shiver ran through it. Her gloved hand cupped his chin, bringing his gaze up, to look directly into those faceted goggle lenses, seeing his own face reflected back at him dozens of times, distorted like a funhouse mirror.

"This is just going to be our little secret, okay~?" She elongated the last syllable, playfully. He found himself nodding, agreeing. How could he not? How could he refuse a request from a beautiful woman, no, from the love of his life? Such a small request! He'd have to be some kind of heel to turn her down. "So, I'm going to let you take what you want, and let you go." The widow leaned back, as if seated on an invisible bench. She waited, then gently pressed the tip of her heeled boot under his chin, pressing him up, to rise. "...Consider this a special favor for only using nonlethal force on my followers. Don't come back to my hive again, little villain." 

She remained behind him, hovering as he stood, frantically using the terminal to recover the files and boxes he had come for. She escorted him to the exit of the base once he had what he'd come here for, then left. He watched her walk away, entranced by the sway of her hips as she walked, until she receded entirely into the shadows of the hive. He wanted to go back, to go after her, but she had asked him to go, and never speak of this again, and he couldn't possibly disobey her commands. 

And for some reason, his instincts were screaming at him to run. For some reason, a part of him was acting like he had just narrowly escaped death. How strange.



Hivemind v s The Cartoonist
Deals Lethal, Toxic, and Psychic damage. Resists Smashing and Cold damage ✔️                        Deals Cold and some Smashing damage. Resists Smashing damage.
Stealth ✔️   No Bonus Perception
Confuse ✔️   No Confuse Resistance



The 'spam confuse from stealth' strat's pretty broken.

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Tanking is only half the battle. The other half...

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At seed 5, we have the transforming heroine Magia Prisma, the mahou shoujo warrior.

Magical Girls are a known phenomenon, though they mostly occur in the island nation of Japan. While there is a degree of varianc in the where and how they come about, the Tres Magia magical girl teams are considered emblematic of the archetype. 

With over twenty teams over the past two decades, the Tres Magia are unconnected, but follow a recurring fomula: A paralell world (usually a 'Fairy Kingdom') is attacked and conquered by an evil invading force. As a last resort, the kingdom sends several representatives to earth, who find three (usually, sometimes as few as two, and sometimes as many as six) schoolgirls (middle schoolers to high-schoolers), and grant them a special transformation device; and a mission to obtain or protect a certain object crucial to the invader's plans; eventually saving both Earth and the Fairy Kingdom.

While the magical girls operate under pseudonyms with secret identities, their exploits while 'in costume' are generally extremely popular, with fan-cams of their fights and city patrols frequently uploaded to the internet; inspiring fan-fiction, fan-manga (Doujinshi), and hundreds of the thousands of words of speculation on forums and chat programs. The fandom extends outside their home nation of Japan, with many worldwide proclaiming themseles to be fans of Magical Girls, and the Tres Magia in particular.

While not the first American magical girl, Magia Prisma is the first recorded Tres Magia to appear outside of Japan. Veditore, a fairy from the Shining Melody Kingdom, cannot explain this, merely stating that Paragon City had the proper 'resonance' needed for him to travel there from his home dimension. Upon his arrival, he contracted with a local girl, a huge fan of magical girls in general and Tres Magia in particular, but before he could locate another two girls to form a full magical girl team, the villainous invaders Ombra Illuminata attacked... and were resoundingly defeated by the city's heroes. In fact, the heroes followed the attacking villains back to the conquered Shining Melody Kingdom and liberated it, swooping in and resolving the incident single handedly in only a matter of hours.  

While Veditore apologized and offered to take back the transformation pendant, the young lady refused. Being a magical girl was always her dream, after all, and even if the Shining Melody Kingdom had been saved, there was still plenty of danger threatening Paragon City. She would use the powers she'd been given as long as she could, fighting solo for peace and justice, and living out her cherished wish of being just like the magical girls she so admired.

Magia Prisma is a Magic Brute with War Mace and Energy Aura as her powersets. Her ancillary set is Energy Mastery, with pool picks in Flight and Fighting. Her notable powers are as follows:

  • [Magical Transformation] "The heart of a maiden is a pure, white light! Refracted through a prism, it becomes a rainbow of color! Transform, Magia Prisma! HENSHIN!"
  • [Shining Rod] A glowing baton or wand that vanquishes evil. Apparently, Prisma thought it would shoot beams, but apparently she's not that sort of magical girl. Using it as a melee weapon works just as well.
  • [Radiance] A glowing aura that deflects attacks, protecting Prisma from a wide variety of attacks.
  • [Float] Magical girls can fly, it's a standard ability! To her great dismay, she couldn't do this initially. Veditore had to step in and adjust her pendant to grant her this seemingly-mandatory power.
  • [Starstruck] Apparently, Veditore's fairy kingdom runs on the admiration and cheers of the crowd. This has lead Prisma to promote herself like an idol, holding meet-and-greets with fans and posing for photoshoots. This has bolstered her magic, but even in the heat of battle it's sometimes necessary to throw out a pose and catchphrase to fuel her transformation.
  • [Recognition inhibiting field] It's very, very difficult to mentally connect the girl with her magical girl personality. Her real name, age, and many personal details are obscured behind her persona as Magia Prisma. She goes by the alias 'York' when not transformed but still around other superheroes. 

Tanking is only half the battle. The other half...

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Match 12: Seed 5 Magia Prisma vs Seed 12 Mister Midas

The young girl, dressed in pink and frills and what he could only describe as a magic wand, bobbed through the air beside him as he walked down the long hallway, alarms blaring and the whole bunker occasionally shuddering. Heroes and Vanguard agents poured past, Midas giving Fusionette and Faultline a nod as they hustled past. 


"...You're a little short for a Vanguard operative."


The magical girl let out an exasperated sigh. "You know, I get that a lot. Do you have a problem with me being here?" 

Midas gave it a moment's thought. "A kid probably shouldn't be on the frontline like this."


"Well, I am. I choose to be." She turned to face ahead, accelerating slightly. "...Every day in this city, somebody's in danger, no matter what. They might get really hurt, or die. I'm stronger, so if it's between me or an ordinary person being in danger, I choose me. It's simple math."


"Guess I can't fault that logic." Midas adjusted his sunglasses, stepping onto the hydraulic platform. "Just stick behind me, then. If it's just simple math, then the sturdiest person here should be the one in danger."


"I can take care of myself, you know!" She continued to hover in midair, keeping her spacing from the elevator constant as it began its ride up to the surface. "Geeze. Adults are so useless sometimes. If you're going to let me fight, then let me fight! I don't need a chaperone."


"You just want to be treated like an adult, huh?" "Exactly. When you think about it, isn't it ridiculous that we're trusted to risk our lives fighting supervillains, but we can't smoke, drink, or vote?" She pointed a finger at Midas' unlit cigarette accusatorily. 


Midas quickly weighed the math. Smoking? Very cool. Encouraging kids to smoke? Very uncool. Lying to children? Uncool, but less uncool than the other option. "Smoking's bad and you shouldn't do it." Magia shot him a dubious look as the metal plating split open, the hydraulic lift reaching the surface. The compound was a mess, the turrets having been blown open, Vanguard mecha smashed and leaking acrid smoke, flashing green plasma bolts and the magnetic whine of vanguard railguns filling the air. 


"Enemy Reinforcements: arrival!"
"Dismissive: Only two of them!"

As a pair of Rikti conscripts raised their weapons, Magia's wand flashed through the the air. leaving a gleaming trail of light, the two invaders suddenly and violently flung backwards by the burst of sparkling energy. Midas whirled and caught a Headman teleporter by the throat in a glowing fist of force, lifting him off his feet and then slamming him into the ground. A pair of Mentalists advanced, hands raised to their temples, but even the Rikti's potent psionics had nothing on Midas's stubbornness. He formed a blade of his glowing aura, slicing at the rikti's chest and leaving a gaping rent through the armor, odd alien blood flowing before the telepath vanished in a 'pop' of the medical recall teleportation. He turned to target the other one, but Magia had already reached them and flicked her wand upwards, launching the invader high into the air, giving her time to wind up and baseball swing her magical rod into them as they came down, sending them flying into a pair of autonomous drones that exploded into shrapnel as the psychic was smacked through them like a projectile. 

The rikti buzzed like an insect swarm, taking note of the new defenders. The two heroes were driven back to back, rikti troopers moving to encircle them in a great horde. 


"...Doesn't look good here." 
"Nope. Want to rethink letting me take the lead?" 
"I'm not backing down. If you want me to hang back, fall back, or hold back, you're going to have to make me."


Midas dug a lighter out of his pocket and lit his cigarette. He probably could, if he had to. That flare of light and concussive force she'd used with that wand thing was something that his field could absorb all day and all evening, too. But, honestly, win or lose? Getting into a fight with a little girl in pink ribbons wasn't very cool.


"Alright, we'll do this your way, kid." "It's Prisma. Magia Prisma." "Hah. Okay. I'm Mister Midas. What's your plan of attack?" 

She shot him a curious look. "...We need a plan? Just get their attention. If they're fighting us, they're not fighting the Vanguard." 

"...Y'know what, that's a good plan. It's simple." "Glad you like it. Ready?"


The cyborg and the magical girl focused, their golden auras expanding, intensifying into golden coronas, fiery glows of magical and psychic energy. Eerily silent, the rikti descended in a wave of swords and plasma fire, crashing against the Brute and Tanker like surf against a mighty rock, and sent crashing back, sent flying by a flashing magic rod or a gleaming golden fist. 


"Reinforcements: Required! Enemies: Indestructible!"



Magia Prisma V S Mister Midas
Not totally indestructible   ✔️ Totally Indestructible
Probably a Middle Schooler ✔️   That'd be lame.


In raw power scale, it's not a contest here, Midas wins. Prisma's got the damage type he's most resistant to and at the range he's comfiest engaging in.

However, Midas cares a lot more about being cool than he does about winning, and there's... it's hard to make beating up a schoolgirl look cool. 


Like the issue with Romulus and Slumberlamb, where neither could see the other and the match should have stalled out because of the zugzwang of neither one wanting to make the first move and reveal themselves, I've basically just called this one as a referee: Midas will forfeit the match, and Prisma will advance to the next round.


There may or may not be any updates next week, as I'll be traveling, but I'll be back later this month to introduce Cosmic Cow and match 13 regardless. See you then.

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Tanking is only half the battle. The other half...

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At seed 2, one of my oldest and most favorite characters, we have Helena 'Cosmic Cow' Alanais.


The C'ao Empire are generally seen as idiots by the greater galactic community. Violent, potentially dangerous idiots, but still idiots. The C'ao, by contrast, think they're great, and that nobody else is giving them a fair shot. 


The C'ao empire expands daily. First, a planet is located by the Science Scouts, who will catalogue a planet's natural resources, inhabitants, culture, and technology. Then, the Armada will arrive, and offer the empire the chance to peacefully integrate into their hegemonic dominion. Those that refuse will be forcibly pacified, while willing members will still have the Armada stick around for a brief period of political restructuring, generally the installation of a C'ao planetary governorship. The third wave is engineers and immigrants, who build up C'ao amenities and infrastructure on the planet.


Doing this, the Empire gets more citizens, more taxes, and more natural resources, but they also get to integrate new cultures with their own. The new alien citizens bring their own music, books films, cuisine, and more to the empire, which the xenophile C'ao all delight in. 'Mandatory Friendship' might be a way to describe their attitude towards the greater galaxy; which other species might find themselves unable to appreciate when it's enforced at the end of a disintegration rifle, or when the C'ao bring their casual use of anal probes to the planets they inhabit. 

"Helena Alanai" is the pseudonym chosen by the Third Class Science Scout known in the media as Cosmic Cow. Arriving on earth almost five years ago, the C'ao have gone from being unknown observers to having interwoven their spies and networks of contacts through North America and the Rogue Isles, even using time travel to insert their influence into already-past events. Their infiltrators and collaborators range from those trading favors and gear with the aliens, to true believers in their quest to conquer earth, to probe-addicted hedonists. Though they still are obscure, the C'ao have become known amongst conspiracy theorists, cryptozoologists, appearing in urban legend.


Helena finds the earth fascinating. C'ao are a very mystically and genetically stable (Some would say *inert*) species; and mutations, freak scientific accidents, and magic are completely unknown to them. Even cybernetics and bio-augmentation are barely known among the C'ao. So, the powered humans, from the lowliest mutant, to the most powerful Incarnate, are bizarre and mysterious to the bovine aliens. Earth's superhuman protectors (and would-be conquerors) are strong enough to give even the Armada pause! While the headstrong fleet admirals would never admit the possibility that they could *lose* in an invasion-by-force scenario, both sides would receive heavy casualties, damaging the planet and people the C'ao want to fold into their empire. 


With this in mind, Helena has switched tactics: She is more open about the existence of her crew of Science Scouts and their lair in the asteroid belt, and is disseminating propaganda attempting to sway earthlings to the C'ao cause. While she knows earth will never unilaterally support membership in the Empire, (Troublemakers like Arachnos, the Council, Malta, and many more will never accept them) she hopes that enough major governments will accept their offer to avoid an all-out war between her own people and earth, her new home. Her own shady past of alien abduction and experimentation, of sabotage and espionage, work against her and ger jingoistic, propaganda-laden diplomacy is clumsy. However, her motives are completely honest in wishing to avoid more destruction than is strictly necessary. 


One way or another, however, earth will submit to the Empire. Like the C'ao probe, you earthlings would probably like it if you would just give it a try!

Cosmic Cow is a Technology Blaster with Beam Rifle and Energy Manipulation as her powersets. Her ancillary set is Munitions, with pool power picks in Flight and Medicine. Her notable powers are as follows:


  • [Cosmic Carbine] The shorter version of the larger beam weapon carried by C'ao shock troops, the disintegrator still has plenty of kick. CC normally carries it at a low setting (a painful stun), but cranked up high it will skeletonize an earthling in only a few shots. Helena has modified hers to dispense pacification gas, fire rockets, and fire a freeze ray, along with its normal functions.
  • [Jetpack] C'ao love jetpacks and being able to fly, and find it puzzling that earthlings haven't adopted more heavy use of them. CC is graceful in the air, and often adopts the position of strafing attacks and bombardment from the air, rarely deigning to get down on the same level as her opponents, even if this means occasionally bumping off the ceiling. 
  • [Science Scout Uniform] The white and black spotted skintight pressure suit is the uniform of the C'ao Empire's science scouts. Helena wears it with pride. The purple and gold armor plating is 'Moometal', a rarely seen alloy outside the C'ao homeworld in the Hyades cluster. The green glow is the result of another anomalous material; the C'ao were lucky to evolve on a planet with multiple materials that aided the development of their technology.
  • [Bubble Helmet] C'ao can breathe earth atmosphere, but the mix of gasses contains some trace particles that C'ao are allergic to. Many villains have been surprised that shattering the helmet only annoyed CC, rather than leaving her gasping and helpless.
  • [Anal Probe] a medical device capable of analysis that can detect a broad spectrum of medical ailments, as well as treating diseases, poisons, and simple traumatic injury via targeted energy pulses designed to cause rapid cellular regeneration. The probe can also tap into the subject's nervous system to read their mental and emotional state, as well as allowing them to influence their mental state; letting it help calm panicking patients and prevent them from going into shock. It has also had some efficiency in alleviating the symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other such disorders. The nervous-system link also makes being probed an intensely pleasurable, euphoric experience; enough so that C'ao often use the device recreationally. More ominously, rumors persist that the technicians can retrieve specific memories from the subject, or implant subliminal or even overt brainwashing, or that the euphoric pleasure is somehow addictive, turning the probed into obedient servants to the Empire. C'ao are quite proud of their probing tech, and perplexed by why the devices seem to repel humans so thoroughly.
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Tanking is only half the battle. The other half...

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Posted (edited)

Match 13: Seed 2 Cosmic Cow vs. Seed 18 RR Hood

Red hit the ground at a jog, hitting the pavement and immediately moving to cover, her team fast-roping down from the Arachnos Flyer behind her. The spiders weren't her favorite clients, not because they weren't prompt with payment. They annoyed her in other ways. They were... stingy. Disrespectful. Nitpicky. In this instance, they'd withheld information: What had supposedly been a demonic escape event at the Cap Au Diable geothermal powerplant was, in fact, an attack by an alien invader. So the'd come loaded for demons, and found out too late they were fighting a metahuman and had to quickly swap their equipment loadouts while the Arachnos efficiency experts complained about the delay in moving out. 

It was probably that sense of annoyance that made her not feel especially bad when a truly titanic beam of energy lanced out from somewhere in the tangle of towers and pylons, punching clean through the mini-flyer and sending it spinning away, the crew bailing out as it smashed into the mountain face and promptly went up in a series of deafening secondary explosions. The gigantic retro-futuristic ray-cannon, bigger than a semi-trailer, perched atop one of the power station's roofs extended several heat-sinks and gushed a burst of steam; cooling down over the massive laser shot; and giving the squad time to advance. 

As a streak of green and purple shot up into the air, Red turned her advance into a slide, skidding behind a humming transformer. Pulling out her heavy, shielded communicator, she pulled out the antenna with a grunt, speaking into it softly. 

"Alright, gentlemen. Eyes to the sky, we're fighting a ranged flyer. Spread out and take up concealed fire positions. The intel we have says to expect overwhelming firepower from the air, so I expect we're fighting a standard hover-blaster here."

 "Keep the primary target's attention while I move up to sap the big gun. We do NOT need that thing firing a second time. Fuchs, Ziege, if you can tag her with a webnade and ground her, make it happen, but don't expose yourself to do it. Are we clear?" She waited for the chorus of 'Affirmative!' over the radio line before concluding with "Okay, move out." and shoving  the heavy radio's antenna back into its casing. 

Helena drifted over the buildings, the towers and silos, letting out a pensive moo as she did so. The test fire of the new Demon Cannon had gone extremely well! She'd been aware of the long cooldown, but the firepower had exceeded expectations! That was all good, and something she'd give high marks in her report; but Arachnos wouldn't have sent just a lone flyer. It would have dumped out a whole squad of Bane Spiders, and maybe a Patron, or a patron's Liutenant at the very least. A C'ao attack on one of their strongholds demanded that much, at the very least! But she couldn't see anything; and that had her very suspicious. Arachnos DID like to outsource their brute labor to villains when they could; so possibly a Stalker, or...

A bullet whizzed past her, followed by a hollow boom. That had been a heavy shot, a sniper bulllet or even an anti-material round. She juked to the left, then down, more criss-crossing patterns of fire that made her juke about. She located one of the assailants in a moment, dug in behind cover. She almost felt bad, pulling her Cosmic Carbine to her shoulder and sighting down the holographic crosshairs, but they HAD shot first. THe searing beam of coherent destructive energy lanced out and then expanded into a massive green dome of crackling energy, forcing the soldier who'd been hiding there to drop their weapon and equipment and heedlessly sprint for cover. She wasn't sure if she'd actually got him, but the entire nest of crates that he'd been using to hide behind was now a patch of very scorched earth. She brought up a display from her wrist projector, tapping a few keys, the PA of the power plant crackling to life.

"Hello, earthling! It seems you've been hired to stop me! I would please encourage you to reconsider this course of action!"
Red paused, mooshing a block of C4 onto one of the sizzling heat-sinks and pressing the wires of a remote signal detonator into the plastic explosive. She'd managed to plant a few blocks of the Serious Putty onto fragile looking energy relays, heat sinks, and control panels, and moved onto a fragile exposed cooling fin, working one-handed as she pulled out her brick of a radio. 

"Report." "Holz here. Had to fall back, that little gun she's got is like a battleship's cannon." "Boss, this is gonna be less like hide-and-seek and more like whack-a-mole. How much longer do you need?" "Longer. Start hopping between cover, two or three shots and then move. She seems like a talker, though. Let me see if I can get her attention some other way."
The codes for accessing the Arachnos systems she'd been given in case an emergency shutdown was needed worked, and she was able to reply using the same PA address system as the cow was using. 

"This is operative Red Riding Hood of Marchen Security Services. We are under contract with Arachnos to secure this area against a potential demonic incursion event, and to detain the suspected instigator."
"Suspected instigator? Are you referring to me?" She let out a cheerful laugh. "Oh, you do not need to worry! C'ao Science is the most advanced in the galaxy! Anomalous energy readings are fully under control!"

Red made a face under her gas mask and set another charge. "I'm sure you think you are, but..." "Little mercenary, you are underestimating the power of the C'ao Empire! Please allow me to demonstrate our technological superiority!" The little dot in the sky stopped, surrounded in a greenish glow, and then fired another massive pulse of energy at another part of the facility. Metal rained down, ends gowing and sizzling green as a walkway high above collapsed. Red winced. 

"You're risking the release of a class six demonic entity! You're putting civilians at risk. For everyone's safety, surrender peacefully NOW before this goes any further!"
Helena mooed smugly to herself, tail ficking back and forth contentedly. That was another one down. She held up her carbine, noting that the auto-regenerating energy pack already having the heavy destructive overcharge mostly regenerated. 

"Oh, are you playing at being the hero today? I thought you were here because Arachnos was giving you a paycheck." 
Kicking her jetpack into a higher setting, she started to do some strafing runs on likely looking hiding places, sweeping he beam over tangles of pipes, tight corridors, or clusters of crates, leaving sizzling green trails behind as she took to just doing rapid flyovers. 
"The C'ao are wise, and benevolent. I have the situation fuly under control! If you are so concerned by the threat to civilians, perhaps you shouldn't be working under Arachnos?"

Red slammed the last of the C4 into place, just as the huge cannon let out a loud buzzing claxon and pulled its heat sinks back into the main armored shell, taking the explosives with it. Her radio was abuzz with cries from her squad, being forced to hunker down in cover or just flee entirely, but she ignore it. Instead, she unslung her heavy anti-material rifle and took a braced position, waiting until that streak of light came back for another pass, before pulling the trigger. 

Helena felt the impact hit like a sledgehammer, letting out a startled moo as the shot to the gut sent her spiraling, having to arrest her motion in midair before she crashed. The report from a gun that huge couldn't really be effectively surpressed, and it was easy to track the expanding 'BOOM' back to its source. Helena let out a grumpy huff as she noted the little girl dressed in red retreating around the Demon Cannon. Swooping around, she circled the device until the girl was brought back into view, casually dodging the second shot as she came into view. 

"...If you were hoping that I would have to hold my fire, I am sorry to say you are completely incorrect! The Demon Cannon Mk I is fully resistant to even my own carbine's fire. Whereas your own primitive earthling kinetic firearm cannot penetrate my spacesuit!"
With her radio on her belt, any reply would go unheard, but Red felt some need to respond anyway. Possibly she just wanted to distract herself from how she was about to do something fairly stupid. "It IS kind of bullshit that you're bulletproof, but in this case.... I just wanted you to be hovering right over there." Taking a deep breath and three long steps, she flung herself off the rooftop, pressing the detonator held clenched in her fist as she did so.

Helena blinked at the sudden dive for cover. She hadn't even started charging to fire, and just twitched the muzzle of her beam rifle to track the young girl's movement. She had her mouth opened to quip when the Demon Cannon exploded, multiple sapper charges going off at once, mostly from INSIDE the heavy armor plating on the exterior. The huge power coil went off in a secondary explosion, adding unearthly green arcs of disintigrating green lightning to the conventional explosion. The floating rings that made up the barrel of the weapon were suddenly no longer contained in their harnessing field, and subject to physics: With the main body of the gun violently exploding, they became shrapnel, flung into the air and towards Cosmic Cow. She had barely time to register this, and no time to dodge or respond, before one of the huge spinning disks smashed into her helmet and everything went dark.
Helena regained consciousness minutes later, blinking. She was flat on her back, pinned under a pile of extraterrestrial debris, her jetpack sputtering and sparking, her Carbine on the floor ahead of her. She reached out for it, but a size ladies small combat boot kicked it away. She looked up, finding herself looking down the barrel of a malta anti-material sniper rifle. 

"How did... ordinary earthlings...?"

"...You C'ao are pretty arrogant, aren't you? Even if you say you care about humans, you don't really think about putting yourself above us; acting as if you know what's best. Standard smug super behavior."
Exhaling, Red took a minute to pull her gas-mask down. Shaking off her red hood, she let her blonde twintails pop free. Her fireteam slowly started to regroup around her, returning from being scattered by Cosmic Cow's assault, some injured, all exhausted.

"...And for the record? I'm never 'playing at being a hero'.  A hero is a figure of hope; they're someone that inspires others." Adjusting her grip on her rifle, she continued. "...Even if I'm fighting monsters and villains, I'm just a hired gun. A specialist, a professional, sure. But not a hero."
"..." CC was silent as Red turned to survey the destruction of their fight, musing philosophically. 
"Well. Maybe, if you can't get a real Hero... a professional is the next best thing." She turned back, eyes falling back to Cosmic Cow, who was making a show of digging a finger around in her ear. 

"You are very talkative for a little girl! I understand that it is normal for earthling empowered to make a speach upon victory, but I believe that you are being premature! I am not yet defeated." Gathering a corona of green energy around her hands, she grunted, starting to heave the debris off herself. "You are a small earthling brat who is interfering in the important work of her elders and superiors. I shall have to probe some manners into you; a manual attitude recalibration."

In response, Red swung her heavy barrel over to the alien invader's chest, aiming at her heart. "Hey, moo-lady. Your bulletproof suit's pretty fancy, do you think it'll stop one of these at point blank range?" She pulled the trigger without waiting for an answer.

The debris fell back into place, Helena folding her arms over her chest with an undignified little wail, the slug of depleted uranium falling to the ground with a tinkle, flattened and deformed around the alien's skintight spacesuit.
 "....ooooOOOOOWWW!!" Helena whined, cutting off into a series of pained moos as she rocked back and forth. Red just stared at her, unsure what to say. After a moment, Holzfaller, their heavy weapons trooper, let out a delicate cough. "...You shot her right in the milk tanks, boss." 
"I did. Just...eugh. Someone call Marshall Brass and let him know we need a new flyer for prisoner recovery."


Cosmic Cow v s RR Hood
Deals Energy Damage, resists Smashing, Lethal, Fire, Cold ✔️   Deals Lethal Damage
No enhanced perception   ✔️ Stealth
Hoverblaster Defense     Typed Energy Defense
One single powerful AOE   ✔️ Pet Heavy
Self Healing     Healing for self and pets
No debuff resistance   ✔️ Lots of debuffs!



CC is one of my favorite characters, one of my FIRST characters when the game was revived as Homecoming. I love her, but she's no longer who I consider my *strongest* character, having built characters after her, I now have seen even more damaging and more survivable characters. RR, who has lots of healing for herself and her pets, Bodyguard, tons of debuffs from Traps, can handle things that would stop CC cold. So as much as I love my dumb space moo, she's out of the tournament, and RR Hood advances another bracket.

Edited by Crasical

Tanking is only half the battle. The other half...

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  • 3 weeks later


At Seed 7, we have our second Scrapper, Ryoko Kobayashi (Or Kobayashi Ryoko, if you want to go with the proper Japanese name order).


Ryoko was 11 years old when Emperor Cole was defeated, when the Hamidon returned to reclaim the territory it had ceded to mankind. Living in Neo-Tokyo, she was far from the epicenter of the atomic blast that destroyed the magisterium, but the ripples of the Emperor's defeat and capture by Vanguard carried across the world, to every self-sustaining city in the greater Praetorian Empire. 


Ryoko's father, the brilliant Dr. Hiro Kobayashi, had been making preparations from the moment that the story broke over the TPN; preparations to get out of the city, past the sonic fences, away from the deathtrap of infighting that Neo-Tokyo became in the days after Tyrant's Fall. However, the size Devouring Earth's attack exceeded every expectation, every contingency he'd planned on. A kaiju-sized Avatar of Hamidon crushed the family's home; Hiro ending pinned under the rubble, one of his legs crushed and mangled. His wife, Mao, made the harsh decision to cut off the useless limb to free him, then to stay behind and cover his escape with their children, Ryoko and Yuushi.


The little cabin outside the city that the family fled too was well camouflaged by surrounding nature, and abundant with field and gardens. Stashed food, water, generators, and medical supplies along with a bare-bones biochemical lab; and clockwork workers to tend the gardens and fields, made their life as comfortable as it could be, under the circumstance. The family grieved and set up a grave for Mao, and tuned in as the transmissions from the city became darker and more grave and urgent, until they one by one winked out and there was nothing. The children heped work the fields during the day while their father worked in his lab on medical inoculations against the Tellurian Plague, or just repairing the clockwork. In the mornings and eveings, he prepared their meals, and homeschooled the two siblings. 


However, he knew all too well that this was an unstable equilibrium. He hadn't counted on the loss of his wife, of one leg; and the breakdowns and constant maintenance needed to keep the clockwork running to fight off wandering Devouring earth monsters and to tend their fields. They just didn't have enough food; the gardens couldn't sustain enough for three people. The treasured dining room table they all shared became increasingly barren as their supplies became more and more rationed, an attempt to stretch things out just a little longer.


Hiro awoke one day to find Ryoko gone, along with the family's heirloom, a katana. In a panic, he pushed himself as hard as he could, limping across the fields, directing the Clockwork in a search pattern. They found her at the most extreme reaches of their farm, barely alive, the katana chipped and dented. A length of rope had been wrapped around a pair of Devouring Earth monsters that she'd killed, slowly and ponderously dragging their looming corpses back to the house. "I wanted to eat mom's cabbage and mushroom stir fry again." was the last thing she said before passing out.


EATING one of the Tellurian-infested, mutant plant monsters of the Devouring Earth was ridiculously risky, but the other alternative was slow starvation. While Ryoko rested, Hiro carefully prepared the two monster corpses: Exposing them to extremes of radiation, heat, cold, and chemical treatments. Eventually, he was satisfied that they wouldn't at least, be immediately fatal to ingest. With masses of mutant Napa cabbage and shitake mushroom, the dinner table was overflowing: Stir fry, cabbage rolls, mushroom pasta. The dinner table was more lively than it had been in weeks.


Weeks turned into months, months turned into years. Ryoko became a splendid hunter, roaming further afield to find and defeat specific ingredients that she would bring back to the house as food supplies, not merely vegetables, but monstrous infected fish, crabs, lobsters, even chickens and beef. She had no formal sword training, merely unnaturally keen reflexes and an atavistic predatory sense that allowed her to submerge her higher thinking during combat, and act purely on instinct and reflexes. Ryoko grew up, though she kept wearing her old school uniform out of habit; having only a small selection of other clothes to wear. She internalized the rules of the natural world; the struggle between predator and prey. One would live, the other would die, and only the strong got to eat in the end. Perhaps it was this return to savage nature; humanity no longer placing themselves above the wilderness but immersing themselves in it, that pleased the Hamidon enough to spare the little farmstead from annihilation, or perhaps it was simply too small to bother with. Either way, the farm flourished, the huntress honed her skills, and it was a long time before they saw another human face.


Ryoko met them during a scavenging and hunting trip to the ruins of Neo-Tokyo. Invaders from another world, they were of the 'primal earth' that had lead to the fall of praetoria, had defeated their once-emperor. They called themselves 'Arachnos', and they had come to pilfer technology from the ruins of Praetoria. Moreover, they offered to take the girl back with them; to a world not yet destroyed by Hamidon, a place where her family could be safe, and happy. Though suspicious, she brought them back to her home, and they negotiated with her father. Hiro accepted their bargain: There was no real future for his children on Praetoria. The Arachnos soldiers escorted them back to a portal they had opened, and from there, back to Grandville.


Weeks of debriefings, poking and prodding from scientists followed. The spiders wanted to know everything that had happened, a comprehensive report on how they'd survived in the wilderness. They responded with disbelief at the answers, that they had *eaten* devouring earth monsters, that one girl with a sword who was barely into her teenage years had protected them. Eventually, once all usable information was extracted, the family was dumped into the Gutter. The family found a home, Dr. Kobayashi set up a clinic for the poor citizens who couldn't afford medical care otherwise, and Ryoko learned how to fight Arachnoids to keep them from eating people in her neighborhood.


Going from the destroyed Neo Tokyo to the Social Darwinism of the Rogue Isles has done very little to disabuse Ryoko of a very primitive view of the world. Society, she reasons, is essentially fake: seeing Praetoria crumble around her in just a few days has made her believe that personal physical power is the only thing one can depend on, and anything you cannot physically protect can be taken away from you by someone stronger; be that a powerful individual or an organization. Ryoko has thus decided that her sword extends only as far as protecting the family's dinner table. Her father, her brother, her home; these are the most important things in her life; and she is remorseless in defending them from Arachnos brutality, arachnoid monsters, and supervillain interference directed at the clinic by way of Mr. Phipps' haven house.


Ryoko Kobayashi is a Natural Scrapper with Katana and Ninjutsu as her primary powersets. Her ancillary set is Weapon Mastery, with pool power picks in Speed. Her notable powers are as follows:

  • [Beast's Fang] Ryoko uses a variety of katanas. None of them are monomolecular, or haunted, or cursed, or divine god-killing weapons. They are simply tools, a sharpened bit of curved metal. They are, all of them, Ryoko's claws and fangs, the tools with which she brings down prey.
  • [Shurikenjutsu] Ryoko carries shuriken, throwing knives, kunai, and various other throwing blades on her person, concealed in her clothes. She's quite a bit heavier than she looks because of this; she's carrying enough that she's confident she won't run out in a prolonged engagement, she doesn't have any way to manifest new ones or retrieve any used in a fight aside from manually going to pick them all back up.
  • [Rules of Nature] Ryoko has no formal combat training, merely her own instincts as a hunter. Still, desperation has forced her to push past her own limitations time and time again, and she treats every fight as a deadly serious engagement.
  • [Appetite] Years of eating Tellurian and later Will of the Earth infested food has not been entirely without side effects. Ryoko can metabolize food and drink extremely quickly, so it's not entirely uncommon to see her eat a riceball in one bite mid-fight to heal up a wound she's taken. In general, she eats way more than a girl of her age and size should.
  • [Dine & Dash World Champion] Ryoko is extremely infamous in restaurants in both the Rogue Isles and Paragon City for eating a huge, expensive meal, and then taking off without paying. She has both stealth and very high speed and leaping height, making her very capable of disengaging from fights she doesn't want to be in.




So, some of my characters are more or less heavily inspired by certain specific things; RR Hood is heavily inspired by Darkstalkers character BB Hood, for example, and the Cursed Gold Idol is actually an old World of Darkness character of mine. Ryoko actually gets an explicit call out because she's *heavily* inspired by the main character of a manga called 'RYOKO' (All caps necessary).


Without getting too deep into spoiler territory, the story ends on a kind of abrupt, downer note, with the implication that the main cast all die. I suspect that either the author got tired of writing the manga or their publisher told them to wrap it up and end the story. I had really enjoyed the manga, so I kind of stole the character, changed her backstory some, and transplanted her into the City of Heroes universe to have a slightly happier ending. 


As an aside, Ryoko's family is full of puns. Her father is Hiro, which is a homonym to the english word 'Hero'. Her mother was Mao, a homonym to Maou, or 'Demon King'. Her little brother is Yuushi, a syllable off Yuusha, a japanese term for hero/warrior, and Ryoko is one off from Ryu-ko, or 'Dragon Girl'.... which is actually how I originally misspelled her name when I first made the character. Thank goodness for infinite rename tokens. 


Also, wow, it's been weeks since I last posted. Sorry! I'll try and keep things more consistent from here out.

Tanking is only half the battle. The other half...

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Match 14: Seed 7 Ryoko Kobayashi vs. Seed 10 Mushroom Witch

The shimmering lake that had made Salamanca such a promising tourist destination in the past had turned into a glowing mirror in the setting sun. Joyce adjusted her broad-brimmed witch's hat, one arm wrapped around a paper bag of groceries, the other gripping the broom she was sitting on side-saddle. She slowly descended to one of Croatoa's many secret caves, leaning her broom against the doorframe as she headed inside, humming to herself. 


"Sisters, I've got the ingre-" She cut off suddenly, standing there in shock. Scattered around the large cavern, Her coven members were sprawled out, unconscious, their black robes shredded by some huge blade.The only one still clinging to consciousness was their sometimes-ally Anna, the white-haired sheep-horned woman groaning, a huge bump on her head and her spandex costume shredded to the point that both the Controller's hands were occupied preserving her own decency. "...She... She came out of nowhere... she's so *fast*..." Anna managed to bleat out, before closing her eyes and fading from view. 


Joyce felt the invisible sheep-woman brush past her, fleeing the cavern, but panic had given way to anger, and Joyce rushed forward heedlessly, trying to find the intruder before she hurt anyone else. A redcap? one of their Tuatha de Danaan slaves? A random villain, a misguided hero? Who would attack them like this?


Ryoko looked up from her project as another witch came rushing in. She thought she'd subdued everyone in these caves! The new arrival skidded to a stop, seeming to be unsure what to make of the situation. Ryoko did have to admit it was an odd situation: the giant cauldron of soup the witches had been boiling away at for a communal dinner was now getting siphoned into a series of jerrycans with a length of extra-thick hosepipe. She gave the hose a gentle jiggle to avoid any clogging on extra-chunky ingredients, then rose, attempting an intimidating martial arts stance. "Stand back! This soup's mine now! Just walk away and nobody has to get hurt!"


Outside, a furred Tuatha strained, slowly pushing up one of the large runestones. Making it stick upright in the soft sand by the lakeshore was a chore, and the Fir Bolg often would topple and deface the stones in their endless resistance. It stepped back to admire its work, then let out a chuffing groan as the stone slipped in the soft sandy soil and tipped over backwards. With a grunt, the Tuatha sat down on the fallen stone, picking at its teeth with one clawed hand as it caught its breath for a moment. Because of this, it had a perfect view as the door to the caverns busted open, a cartoon dustball of violence launching out and rolling up and down the lake shore before separating into two battered fighters. 


"Huuuh....huuuh... Not bad, for a *soup thief*." Joyce managed to pack more disdain into the last two words than should reasonably have fit there. Thrusting out a hand, the pile of splintered wood that had once been the door to the cave rattled, her broom erupting from the pile and flying to her hand. She twirled it nimbly between her fingers. "Unfortunately for you, I'm done fighting with my bare hands. It's time to get serious."

"Funny!" Ryoko reached down, slowly and menacingly unsheathing her katana. "I'm a weapon user, too." Something about the other girl had gotten her hackles up. They were both stealthy close range fighters, both girls displaced across space and time from their homes, strangers in a strange land. And for some reason, all those similarities just contributed to an *instinctual dislike* of the little witch!


The scrapper and stalker rushed forward to clash weapons, the first few strikes feeling each other out, whirling defenses of spinning wood and flickering steel, probing thrusts and swipes. Ryoko went on the offensive first, a powerful slice starting low and snapping upward. Joyce blocked not with her staff but with a small potion vial, the cork forced out as it erupted into a huge ball of mushrooms, Joyce entombed in the center. The spongey fungus gripped and tangled Ryoko's blade, blunting the strike and momentarily making it stick, long enough for Joyce to wind up a powerful thrust, dislodging the other girl's weapon and sending both it and her flying back onto her back. 

Ryoko rolled up in an ukemi, eyes narrowed, and then rushed in again. Her sword lashed out left to right, then back again in a spinning 360 degree attack, before she sprung into the air and came down like a meteor, a huge cleaving strike. Joyce kept her staff moving, using its reach to push Ryoko out, abusing her long weapon to keep the other girl out of the range where her curved sword could be effective, but that sudden leap was too unexpected, coming down and forcing her to abort to a full defense against the helm-splitting strike, her staff held up over her head like an iron bar to deflect the blow. 


The two fighters separated after the clash, only to rush in again. Defense was abandoned as the sudden intensity of the skirmish built, clouds of spores building up as the bristled end of the broom struck at Ryoko with the weight of a sledgehammer, flashing steel leaving shallow bleeding cuts and shredded clothing in their wake. The exchange of blows came faster, more and more vicious, the two combatants shouting wordless defiance until the melee suddenly broke, the two skidding away on the sandy shore, water lapping at their heels. 
Ryoko and Joyce stared each other down. Joyce drew out a potion, Ryoko a riceball. The potion was quaffed in just a few gulps, the riceball eaten in two quick bites. Bleeding cuts sealed up, bruises faded, the combatants abnormal physiology giving them lightning fast recovery. 


"Kind of looks like we're going to be at this for a while." Ryoko noted. Joyce paused, holding her broom at arms length, considering. "..You're right. So..." She settled onto the broom, rising into the air as she drew out some potions. "I'll just fight from up here for a bit."

Ryoko dodged as the first vial landed where she'd been moments before, exploding into a brown-black cloud of spores. "Whoah! Hey, get down here!" "Fufufu! Looks like I was right. You can't fly, can you? So just get picked apart while I stay out of reach. I bet you'll run out of stamina before I run out of potions."

Ryoko backdodged the next exploding vial, then sidestepped the third. With a spinning flourish she put her katana away, but any victory on Joyce's part was short lived: Fingers slipped into the pleats of her skirts, coming out with shuriken, kunai, and throwing knives, the metal blades starting to fly as Joyce was forced to take evasive maneuvers. "Just because I can't reach you with my sword doesn't mean that I'm out of options! Take this and this and THIS!"


The Tuatha laborer sucked a finger, watching the increasingly large cloud of fungal gas and the hail of wildly thrown blades, the exchange showing no signs of ceasing. Just how many bombs and knives could one person carry, anyway? It seemed nonsensical. With a heaving grunt, the Tuatha rose, getting a grip on the huge stone slab and starting to lever it back upright. Once it was in position, he spent some time rocking it back and forth, trying to grind it down into the soft earth, to properly anchor it this time. It seemed to be working fairly well, and it stepped back to examine its handiwork, chuffing agreeably at the results. Nodding, it turned back to watch the continued brawl.


Both combatants seemed to have mostly expended their ranged projectiles, with Ryoko looking the worse for wear after the exchange. Dodging a shuriken, Joyce rushed down, transitioning from sitting on her broom to use it as a staff, her strike aiming at a fungal build-up that the bombs had built up, a smudgy blackness on the skin. "This'll end it!" With a touch from her broom, it exploded into vitality-sapping mushrooms, roots digging into Ryoko's arm and sucking away at her strength, her eyes wide in shock at the sudden assassin's strike. Off balance, she couldn't defend against the followup swing, a pancake flip that launched her into the air. Joyce zipped upwards, swinging the staff overhand in two hands to intercept the knocked-up scrapper and send her crashing back down to earth.


Joyce slowly drifted to the ground, holding her weapon up and ready, but Ryoko didn't move to rise from the shallow crater she'd smashed into the ground. "...Had enough, soup-thief?" She inquired, slowly approaching. Ryoko hadn't managed to draw her sword before her surprise rush-down, and was laying on her stomach, head resting on her arms, facing away from Joyce. She gave the other girl a prod in the ribs with her broom. "..." Joyce could see that her jaw was working, but couldn't hear anything. "...Whatever you've got to say, save it for the police." She used her staff to lever the rogue over onto her back. 


Ryoko finished chewing and swallowed. The sprouting mushrooms had stolen her vitality. The obvious solution to get the vitality back was to just eat the mushrooms. They'd tasted *bad*, a mushroom that no amount of butter or seasoning could fix, but they'd restored feeling to her numbed limbs. And it seemed the witch hadn't expected anyone to just *eat* her poison mushrooms. The draw-cut, Iaijutsu, was the method of drawing a katana and attacking in a single smooth motion. Her opponent already had her weapon out and ready, and she was laying prone. It was only having surprise and the sudden rush of fungus-fueled energy that let her pull it off, but she rolled backwards into a crouch, then lunged forward, so quickly she seemed to Joyce to just pass *through* her, vanishing and appearing behind her. She felt the shock of the sword striking her weapon, curiously soft.


Ryoko quietly slid her katana back into its sheathe. Joyce, before she could turn around and chastise her opponent for acting like she'd already won, felt her beloved broom snap apart into three pieces, cut apart not just once but *twice*. With a ripping fabric noise her dress suddenly collapsed into so many scraps, the bottles and potions she concealed inside it going spilling across the ground. Joyce let out a strangled 'yeep' and covered herself, sputtering and reddening. "W-what?! How... How dare you!? How-" "You kept pulling potion bottles out, and while you kept healing yourself, I figured the potions wouldn't fix your clothes." Ryoko tilted her head, quizzical. The other girl was acting *really scandalized* considering that the bloomers and camisole she wore as underclothes were modest enough to barely merit comment by modern standards. 


"...Anyway, your weapon's broken, and your potions are all on the ground, so I win. I'll be taking your soup."
"Seriously? This can't really all have been about *soup*."
"...That's it? You're just taking our dinner? Not stealing magic items? Not going to torture or kill anyone?"
"It smelled good, so I decided to take it. That's all. I don't kill things that I don't intend to eat. I just fight to eat, and to feed my family."
"The strong prey on the weak. That's just the way the world works." She turned, starting to make her way back to the cave. "...You're pretty strong, actually. I won this time, but I don't think I'll hunt in this area anymore."


Joyce huffed. She crouched down, starting to gather up her spilled bottles in her witch  hat, which had miraculously survived the brawl entirely undamaged.

"...Your philosophy is really messed up..."

Ryoko Kobayash v s Mushroom Witch
Deals Lethal Damage   ✔️ Deals Smashing Damage, Resists Lethal damage
Stealth, Enhanced Perception ✔️   Stealth, No enhanced Perception
Capped defenses (Positional) ✔️   High Defenses (Typed)
Powerful Self Heals   ✔️ Extreme self-heals and Absorbs
Mushroom Eater ✔️   Oh no!


Scrappers are fun. Stalkers are fun. Both of these characters have dodges and self heals. Ryoko has enhanced perception, Mushroom Witch has resistances. The witch has the better heals, Ryoko has the better defenses. They both have decent ranged capability. They're very similar! The ending nod is just to a conceptual weakness: The monstrous mushroom eating girl has the advantage.

Tanking is only half the battle. The other half...

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At Seed 3, we have Victor Matheson, the Arachnos archaeologist, also known as Tomb Spider.

Victor Matheson, the Tomb Spider, has left his past as buried as the ruins he explores. The name he uses may be an alias; there are no records of his birth, childhood, or schooling. Certainly, though he is a thug, criminal, and thief, he seems to have a very solid grounding in archaology, history, and mythology, an expert in the mythic pre-historic epoch of gods. His specialies include the ancient spirits of africa and their ascension to diety-hood, the Banished Pantheon forced into the spirit world, the invention of magic, and the rise of the Mu and Oranbegan civilizations, Hequat, Ermeeth, and Tielekku.

While it's unclear where in the world he came from, Victor has been a globe-trotting adventurer for years, and seems to not discriminate between liberating relics from ancient ruins and tombs and disappearing them from museums into the hands of private collectors. Driven by money and fame, Victor operated in Mexico, India, Egypt, Arabia, China, and Greece, unearthing more and more fantastical treasures with every expedition, including lost, cursed, and potent magical artifacts. 

His success was enough that he drew the attention of Arachnos, who approached the mercenary archaeologist with the intent to lure him to the Rogue Isles, and set him to work excavating ancient Mu dig sites. Though Victor only has the barest traces of Mu blood, it was enough to get the organization of mystics to begrudgingly assist him in locating and retrieving their ancient treasures.

Though considered aloof and insubordinate by many of Arachnos' soldiers, Tomb Spider, as he had been codenamed, was an asset to the organization. While he only ever saw his employment as a business contract and never displayed any of the zealous loyalty to the organization that was expected of him; he helped secure many ritual sites, recover magical foci, and neutralize magical threats from the Circle of Thorns for the Mu mystics.

His relationship with his Arachnos allies changed with the discovery of the Halberd of Hequat. The Mu superweapon, a double-ended axe-hammer polearm, was host to a dizzying set of enchantments: Invulnerability, Invisibility, Super-strength, and the ability to fire bolts of poisonous lightning. Anyone bearing the weapon became a dangerously potent warrior; and Tomb Spider, rather than handing it over to his Mu allies, kept it for himself. Claiming the smallest dregs of Mu blood qualified him to inherit the artifact (And that the Mu mystics themselves would have no use for it, as their ritually bound hands couldn't even HOLD the weapon, much less swing it). 

The scuffle that resulted required an Arbiter to intervene and settle matters, Victor would be allowed to keep the weapon as long as he was in Arachnos employ, for however long as that was. While the unspoken notion that this simply was putting off the point when Victor would inevitably abscond with the weapon and Arachnos would be forced to hunt him down, it was enough to settle things in the moment and prevent further bloodshed. With his personal power much increased, Victor has settled into a fairly relaxed attitude towards his duties: He provides a steady stream of liberated artifacts, primarily sourced from Primeva's oranbegan ruins, but requests for his assistance in operations tend to be lost or misplaced if they come from anyone with less authority than an Arbiter. 

An untrusted asset, Victor continues to focus on his own goals, as he always has, the pursuit of fortune and glory. Simply addicted to the power the Halberd gives him, he has no intention of parting with it, but he's content to operate under Arachnos' organizational umbrella for now. As for what the future holds, that remains to be seen.


Tomb Spider is a Magic Arachnos Soldier in the Bane Spider branch. His ancillary pool is Mace Mastery, and he has no pool power picks. His notable powers are:


  • [Halberd of Hequat] The mu superweapon and the source of a great deal of Tomb Spider's power.
  • [HoH: Might] Wielding the halberd has made Tomb Spider both incredibly strong and incredibly durable, easily able to stand toe to toe with armored troops, metahumans, and super-serum enhanced soldiers.
  • [HoH: Invisibilty] Not perfectly invisible as a Stalker would be, the hammer also lets Tomb Spider cloak himself and move about both quickly and unseen
  • [HoH: Lightning] The crimson lightning of the mu, tinted green with the poison that his bolts of energy carry. Both single beams and explosive blasts can be launched from the spear-tip of the Halberd.
  • [Fortune and Glory] A 'power' that Tomb Spider had long before obtaining the halberd, his spit-in-the-eye-of-destiny attitude and natural good luck leave attacks barely grazing him. While he might be injured, that last fatal bullet never seems to come, leading to desperate scrapes and narrow escapes.
  • [Flying Carpet] Another of the magical artifacts that Tomb Spider has opted to keep rather than sell. Getting around in the Rogue Isles, especially Grandville, without flight can be an exercise in frustration.
  • [Scrying Stone] A small shard of stone polished to mirror sheen. Using it, he can divine an opponent's weak points.
  • [Arachnos Clearance] Tomb Spider has clearance to summon assistance in the form of several Arachnobots, who do not find it objectional to work with the untrustworthy agent the way human troopers would.

Tanking is only half the battle. The other half...

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